Selecting the Proper Shoes for Your Particular Workout
Fitness shoes are designed for specific activities and constructed to protect areas of the feet that receive the most stress. Consider these guidelines when trying on your shoes:
- Wear the type of sock you plan to wear when participating in your workout session
- There should be approximately a ½-inch of space between your big toe and the inside of each shoe.
- Make sure the shoes are comfortable on both feet by fitting them to your larger foot.
- Do not assume that slightly uncomfortable shoes will feel better with use. There is no such thing as a break-in period.
The information below describes the major differences among various types of fitness shoes.
Aerobic shoes contain additional cushioning, extra ankle support and overall foot support. They are used during group exercise classes that incorporate low to high intensity exercise movements.
Crosstrainers provide evenly distributed cushioning and overall foot support for workouts on treadmills and elliptical trainers. They can be used outdoors for walking or jogging. They are also good for performing weight-bearing exercises.
Dance Sneakers have split soles composed of low-traction rubber for easy sliding and turning. They are used for dance-oriented workouts.
Running shoes are flexible and lightweight, while providing extra shock absorption for the ball and heel of the foot. The heel has extra impact protection and the overall design of the sole promotes proper running motion. They also provide motion control to keep the foot from rolling inward (pronating) or outward (supinating).
Walking shoes are flexible with a well-cushioned forefoot and heel. Different from running shoes, the heel is slightly lower to support a comfortable walking motion.
Replacing Your Fitness Shoes
Fitness shoes are designed to protect your feet, ankles, knees and back. Over time structural protections in the shoes begin to break down. In general, if you do moderate to intense workouts approximately 3 times a week, the cushioning in your shoes loses its effectiveness within six to eight months. If your shoes have a mesh upper, it will begin to stretch causing your foot to shift during your workout, also during this same period of time.
It is important to recognize that the wearing down of your shoes may be the cause of discomfort in your feet, back or knees during your workout session. Therefore, you should plan to replace your shoes every six to eight months. If your workouts are more intense, you may have to replace shoes sooner.